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Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 14:07 GMT
'Too old' Popstars hopeful quits
Peter Smith - copyright Granada TV
Peter Smith was two months too old for the series
One of the contestants on ITV1's talent show Popstars: The Rivals has quit the show after confessing he lied about his age.

Peter Smith, a 25-year-old singer from Dublin, surprised show presenter Davina McCall when he admitted he was two months too old to take part in the series.

Contestants had to be no older than 24 at the beginning of July to compete in the show, which is aiming to pick all-female and all-male pop groups which will then compete for the Christmas number one single.

Nikk Mager - copyright Granada TV
Out: Popstars hopeful Nikk Mager
A spokesman for production company Granada said: "We admire Peter for his honesty. He couldn't bear to see any two of his bandmates be evicted and decided to do the decent thing and confess to his real age."

He added that the show's judges, including producer Pete Waterman and former Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, were also upset by the news.

Smith is the second contestant to leave because of his age. Fellow Dubliner Hazel Kaneswaren quit three weeks ago, just before the show's final 20 hopefuls were picked, after discovering she was 10 days too old.

Another hopeful, 22-year-old Nikk Mager, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, was picked to leave the programme on Saturday.

Pop Idol delay

Meanwhile, the programme's sister show on ITV1, Pop Idol, is delaying auditions for its second series.

The show's first run created the careers of Will Young and Gareth Gates, and gave former Popstars contestant Darius Danesh a boost as well.

Production company Thames said it wanted to avoid talent show overkill - especially considering the poor ratings for the BBC's Fame Academy.

Will Young and Gareth Gates
Will Young and Gareth Gates: Pop Idol 2 is being delayed
A spokesman said: "Pop Idol was the first voting show. What Pop Idol has done, which Fame Accademy has not, is give the public time to fall in love with the contestants.

"But there is the danger of overkill - it is something we are aware of. We do envisage auditions until spring or early summer now.

"The last show of Pop Idol finished in February and it is now felt it is better to have a longer break between the two series."

Friday saw 20-year-old Camilla Beput expelled from Fame Academy, which has been battered by bad reviews and low viewing figures.

No early ratings figures were available for either Fame Academy or Popstars.


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